2021 HSNCT

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Edited by NAQT
Champion Barrington
Runner-up University Lab
Third Detroit Country Day
High scorer William Groger, Miami Valley
Site Online via Zoom
Field 224
Stats [1]

The 2021 NAQT HSNCT was held on May 29–30. It was hosted virtually through Zoom using Buzzin.live, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 224 teams were in attendance.

Barrington High School won the tournament, winning both games of an advantaged final against University Lab. Detroit Country Day and TJHSST finished 3rd and 4th, respectively. William Groger of Miami Valley was the top individual scorer, followed by Will McCurley of Baker and Karsten Rynearson of Phillips Academy.

Due to the logistics of the online format, there were only 8 preliminary rounds instead of the usual 10.

  Quarterfinals     Semifinals     Advantaged Finals
Unbeaten team has advantage
  28 Greenhill 270  
  18 Detroit Country Day 340     13 University Lab 340  
  18 Detroit Country Day 230  
  5 Barrington 305         13 University Lab 220 170
  10 Arcadia 295           5 Barrington 375 445
    5 Barrington 315  
    3 Thomas Jefferson 310     Third place
  3 Thomas Jefferson 490       18 Detroit Country Day 325
  7 Buffalo Grove 170 3 Thomas Jefferson 245

NOTE: Seeds represent seeds at the start of bracket play.

"HSNCT and its Problems"

Main article: HSNCT and its Problems

"HSNCT and its Problems"[1] was a forum thread started by Arya Karthik in the lead-up to the 2021 HSNCT. It summarized a number of issues with the logistics of HSNCT and with the operation of NAQT more generally.

The initial post was criticized for its poor tone, and discussion largely focused on the arguments regarding logistics, costs, and NAQT's finances rather than more subjective questions of question quality and difficulty variance.


Due to the unique online setting of the 2021 HSNCT, instances of alleged cheating by certain competitors rose throughout the duration of the tournament. One player privately admitted to cheating at the the tournament, but subsequently retracted that admission. NAQT voided their team's results; identification of the player has been removed from this page for now, pending discussion of legal implications.

A tossup in round 7 did not contain instructions to accept an answer that would have been correct early in the question,[2] leading to protests in several rooms. One such protest decided a preliminary match between Adlai E. Stevenson and Carmel A. Though the protest committee ruled that Stevenson's answer was correct, the decision was not communicated properly to the game officials, resulting in an erroneous 5-point loss for Stevenson.[3] This was corrected on NAQT's website several days later. Fortunately, both teams would have advanced to the playoffs either way, but the mix-up did affect playoff seeds.[3]


  • Barrington's championship was the first-ever HSNCT title won by an Illinois high school, and their final against Uni Lab was the first-ever all-Illinois HSNCT final.
  • Belmont (ranked #8 in the GrogerRanks pre-nationals poll[4]) was perhaps the highest-polling team ever to miss playoffs at a "good quizbowl" nationals. They later finished 5th at the 2021 NSC.
  • University Lab became the second team to lose in the finals of back-to-back HSNCTs, after State College in 2006 and 2007.


  1. HSNCT and its Problems by etotheipi » Thu Mar 04, 2021 3:27 pm
  2. Re: 2021 HSNCT discussion by Important Bird Area » Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:05 pm
  3. 3.0 3.1 Re: 2021 HSNCT discussion by Important Bird Area » Thu Jun 03, 2021 9:06 pm
  4. 2020-21 HSQB Pre-Nationals Poll Results » May 29, 2021